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16-02 — Leading Landscape Design Practices for Cost-Effective Roadside Water Management

Hotter, drier summers; warmer, wetter winters; and more frequent extreme weather events are confronting transportation agencies with increasingly frequent and intense floods, droughts, and temperature extremes that adversely affect transportation infrastructure. Transportation agencies, seeking ways to mitigate these adverse impacts, have been exploring principles and practices of “green infrastructure” for roadside water management, using such as techniques as water harvesting, landform grading, rain gardens, micro-catchment basins, and large-watershed actions as components of transportation development projects and operations. The fundamental intent of these techniques is to work with natural processes, to “build with nature.” While the details of particular applications often are determined by geography, many of the techniques are transferrable to other climatic and landscape settings; the principles and practices being developed for designing, developing, and managing green infrastructure are generally applicable.

This scan will review recent experience with green infrastructure practices for roadside water management to identify planning and design criteria, management practices, and exemplary applications that may be broadly useful in transportation agencies nationwide. Because much of the leading-edge experience is coming from local and regional (sub-state) agencies, an important feature of this scan will be consideration of how exemplary applications may be scaled up to inter-city corridor and statewide systems. The scan may contribute toward development of nationally useful guidelines and policies on effective green infrastructure practice.

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Scan Results and Report


Implementation and Impact

An article entitled, 8 Steps to Green Infrastructure Success, which details best practices from Scan 16-02 — Leading Landscape Design Practices for Cost-Effective Roadside Water Management, was published in the February 2021 issue of Stormwater.

Scan team members (including Scan Member Garrett Jackson of Washington State DOT and Brian Smith of FHWA ) and scan participants, conducted two TRB hosted webinars which presented highlights, findings and insights on best practices for designing, developing, and managing green infrastructure for roadside water management.

Webinar 1 Pre-recorded (April, 2020)

Click below to view webinar recording hosted by TRB.

Webinar Part 2 (May 18, 2020) PDF Slides and Video recording available upon request.

Scan Members

  • Jennifer Taira, Caltrans, AASHTO Chair
  • Laura Riggs, Louisiana DOT
  • Charles Hebson, Maine DOT
  • Garrett Jackson, Washington State DOT
  • Ken Graeve, Minnesota DOT
  • Brian Smith, FHWA
  • Lucy Joyce, Subject Matter Expert


Workshop Participants

This scan was held as a workshop in San Diego, CA from November 6-10, 2017. In addition to the scan team, workshop participants included:

  • Maryland SHA
  • Pennsylvania DOT
  • Philadelphia, PA
  • New York City, NY
  • Long Creek Watershed Management District, ME
  • Southeast Michigan Council of Governments, MI
  • King County, WA
  • Washington State DOT
  • Oregon DOT
  • Nevada DOT
  • Arizona DOT



Left to Right: Brian Smith, Laura Riggs, Lucy Joyce, Jennifer Taira, Charles Hebson, Ken Graeve, Garrett Jackson.